Over 50 black booths were set up at the convention center on February 18 and 19, as national franchises looked for potential franchisees to open potential businesses. The event gave interested investors a chance to meet with top executives from expanding companies that are looking for continued growth.

Throughout the day there were seminars given from top small business experts, some who have bestselling books on the market. Carl Gould, the author of “The 7 Stages of Small-Business Success: From Startup to Seven Figures in Three Years or Less,” led a seminar about the key strategies that can take your business to the next level. He began by asking if anyone had seen the movie March of the Penguins. Gould went on to explain how a person’s business has to stand out and not be blended in with all other businesses in the industry, comparing it to the thousands of penguins that all looked alike in the movie.

Gould stressed the importance of starting on social media to build your brand. He said, “You are either helping your brand or your rivals brand.” “If you do not have subject matter expertise then you are building someone else’s brand.” He elaborated by explaining inactivity or a bad image pushes potential customers to businesses that are making the right moves.

Franchising is a way for established companies to sell their brand to investors. The potential business men and business women can purchase a certain amount of stores to open from the company. That person pays the company a franchise fee and many other costs in order to open a location. The investor is then in charge of the business but has help and assistance from the corporate office of the franchise. The business owner usually has a business consultant from the corporate office that assists in opening the store and ensuring policies are followed.

Most notable franchises in attendance were Seven Eleven convenience stores, the UPS Store, Captain D’s Seafood, Java Brewing Stations, and a lot of other fun concepts. Many franchises are also veteran friendly and give huge discounts on franchise fees in order for prior soldiers to open their own businesses.

There are over 3,000 franchising brands in the United States. The total number of franchise stores in this country is over 740,000. The direct economic output from franchise brands is averaged out to be $710,000,000,000. The total number people employed by franchises adds up to more than 7 million workers. These businesses are categorized into ten industries and the most recognized are restaurant and food service, auto industry jobs, and fitness services.